Young Justice Season 2, Episode 1
“Happy New Year”
SUMMARY: Lobo’s attack on the United Nations reveals an invasion by the alien Kroloteans. Robin leads a small squad to rescue human captives from a Krolotean base. Oh, also, it’s five years after the last episode and we have a new Team.
Margaret: Picking up from last season, we replay the last scene, which disclosed that 6 of the members of the Justice League were missing for 16 hours. No one has any idea what they did during this time, but we can assume it is nothing good.
Syd: I assume nothing. Anyway, we cut to the sewer, where Conner is fighting Clayface. The fight itself isn’t important, but the way it’s set up is. The change of scenery indicates that this is a different day and the start of a new adventure. Conner is wearing fingerless gloves. You might not have even noticed that at first. Then, Megan shows up to provide support and Robin throws batarangs to provide a distraction, allowing Conner to throw some sort of clay freezing pill into Clayface’s mouth. Once the fight is over, Robin steps out of the shadows and — holy shit! That’s not Dick!
Margaret: Or! Maybe puberty just hit him like a brick.
Syd: And it mostly affected his costume and haircut?
Margaret: Puberty hits us all in different ways, Syd.
Syd: Like how it turns Garfield green and gives him a tail. Oh, also, he’s on the team now and looking for souvenirs. Oh, and puberty changed Megan’s haircut, too.
Margaret: Wait wait wait, Megan changed haircuts because she’s a shapeshifter. She can go through her goth phase just like all disaffected teenagers.
Syd: Fair enough, but now there’s a blue bug person and a much smaller black bug person.
Margaret: So, wait, Garfield wants souvenirs? Where is Wally? Did he pass off his worstness to Garfield? That will not be borne!
Syd: Heaven forbid! Spoiler alert, Blue Beetle is now the worst. Garfield is fine.
Margaret: Oh hey, so we’re at the end of the scene and the time stamp says five years later. WHAT? Well, that does explain a few things.
Syd: Welcome to Season 2!
Margaret: I already don’t like this. Where the fuck is Kaldur?
Syd: Back at Mt. Justice, Lagoon Boy is training with former Robin, Nightwing. You remember Lagoon Boy from last season, right?
Syd: Anyway, Lagoon Boy addresses Dick as “Chum.” Get it? Like with fish? It’s a joke. It gets old after the first time. Same with “Neptune’s beard” as an interjection.
Margaret: Aw, that one I find cute. As everyone enters, they do a very clever way of introducing us to the new characters, with having the security system announce them to let us know what their codenames are. It’s quick, but I enjoyed that. Immediately, Bumblebee grows from bee size to human size and we recognize her from last season! It’s Karen the cheerleader! Her boyfriend, Mal the dude who dressed up as Superboy on Halloween, is also there and is happy to see her.
Immediately, Karen is running off because she is late for a ‘lab session’ with Dr. Palmer. Man, five minutes into this season and it is already clear to me that Karen is cheating on Mal with Dr. Palmer. Is he just used to break up relationships across all comics and series? They did the same thing on Arrow! Need some romantic tension between Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen? Toss in Ray Palmer! Immediate Romantic Triangle material right here.
Syd: Wait? The Arrow writers split Ray up from his true love, Jean Loring?! I mean, I assume they lived happily ever after, assuming I didn’t block some horrible comic that contradicts that from my memory.
Margaret: Well, wait. On Arrow, Ray Palmer was engaged to Anna Loring, but she died during the attack on Starling City orchestrated by Deathstroke. In his introductory season, he takes over Queen Consolidated and hires Felicity on as a vice president of the newly named Palmer Technologies. From there they start a doomed to fail romance, which seems to be a theme for Ray Palmer: romantic triangles and hooking up with people he really shouldn’t be getting involved with.
Syd: When Marvel movies were becoming popular, it was cool for me, because I could talk about comics with people and even if they hadn’t ever read a Marvel comic, they would know who all the characters were. I try to do the same thing with D.C. and this happens.
Margaret: Well, Marvel does a lot of head scratching things. But Arrow was doomed to make a lot of people who know the comics tilt their head by its very premise of trying to turn the Green Arrow into Batman.
Speaking of wait WHAT moments in romantic developments over the past five years, Megan and Lagoon Boy are together??? What???? This makes absolutely no sense in my head right now. What in the world happened in these past five years? No Kaldur? No Conner/Megan? I’m saying it right now. Five years later sucks.
Syd: But also no Wally!
Margaret: Okay, so there’s ONE good thing about five years later.
Syd: Anyway, the scene cuts to the United Nations, where Lobo is murdering security guards to get to Tseng, who was Prime Minister of South Rhelasia last season but is now Secretary General of the United Nations.
Margaret: They don’t say his name yet, but Lobo enters the UN speaking a different language. For a second it sounds like someone without any Spanish speaking ability trying to speak Spanish, but then it sounds like a mangling of some Star Wars lines where Greedo is trying to blackmail Han Solo.
Syd: Well, Lobo does say his own name, but I guess you don’t speak Alienese.
Margaret: Alienese? That’s speciesist?
Syd: Xenomorphobic, maybe?
Margaret: As Lobo closes in on the Secretary General, Wonder Girl and Batgirl make a dramatic entrance to stop him.
Syd: I love that this is the first time you see them, but you can immediately identify them. Iconography!
Margaret: Though, does Wonder Girl always wear what looks to be Amazonian work out clothes?
Syd: Pretty much. Unless it’s cold, then she wears a jacket.
Anyway, this is a hell of an introduction for these two. We see them in action and trading banter. I love that Wonder Girl punches Lobo hard enough to shatter the windows in Tseng’s office immediately upon entering, not knowing anything about who Lobo is or what he’s capable of. She absolutely could have killed him and she doesn’t care. Lobo calls them “Keezy femmes,” and Cassie says, “I’ve been called worse – I think.” I find it interesting that Lobo’s word for “girl” is “femme,” because apparently Interlac is a Latin derivative.
Margaret: Lobo rips apart Tseng to reveal a small green alien inside – much like what happens in Men in Black. Taking the alien, they ride off into the sky and Cassie gives the biggest understatement of the episode so far, “I think clownface was some kind of alien!”
Syd: Well, she wasn’t wrong.
Margaret: Smash cut to Tim Curry doing his best Glenn Beck impersonation. He’s convinced that aliens are out to take over Earth and that it – and the “Real Earthlings” – must be protected from aliens. Because who knows, everyone and anyone might be an alien! Everyone should panic!
Syd: The best part of his news segment was Godfrey cutting to the Hall of Justice and overpronouncing Catherine Cobert’s name. Given all that has happened since this episode aired, conservatives aiming their vitriol at the French seems so quaint. Remember Freedom Fries?
Margaret: At least we get to see, through Cat Grant’s attempt at an interview, that Zatanna and Rocket are now members of the League. They, of course, have no comment.
Syd: Also, we get a little background on this world’s political climate when Godfrey speculates about who might be secretly aliens – like the Flash or Hawkman – and I realize that we have no idea whether this incarnation of Hawkman actually is an alien or what the general public knows about any Justice League members.
Margaret: In the Watchtower, John Stewart informs the Leaguers (plus a few members of The Team) that Tseng was actually a Krolotean and finally names Lobo as a bounty hunter. While Lobo works alone, apparently, Kroloteans are always in packs, meaning there will be more on Earth. To help with finding out more, J’onn J’onzz introduces Adam Strange, who was accidentally transported to an alien world named Rann while working on the Zeta Tubes. There, he learned that advanced Zeta Beam Technology was stolen and a Rann scientist named Sardath was looking into it.
Syd: Green Lantern thinks the Kroloteans were involved in the Zeta theft, as Kroloteans are naturally thieves, and whoa is that ever space-racist. Unfortunately, the League can’t send their members to investigate, because the Justice League are wanted criminals in Rann’s sector of space, owing to the 16 hours when they were under Vandal Savage’s mind control. Nightwing offers to send members of the Team, who, as far as they know, are not wanted there. Strange advises Conner not to wear a t-shirt that identifies him as Kryptonian.
Margaret: Back at the cave, Dick is assigning teams to take out Zeta Tubes. Lagoon Boy really wants to be on anything but Gamma, which definitely means he is going to be assigned to Gamma. While Nightwing and Wonder Girl are Alpha, Bumblebee, Batgirl and Wolf are Beta, Robin, Blue Beetle and Lagoon Boy are assigned Gamma – where they don’t expect a lot of trouble. For the mission, Dick assigns Tim to be the leader of the Gamma Squad.
Syd: This is Tim’s first mission as leader of Gamma Squad. You can tell that Dick is reluctant to give him even that level of risk, as if he’s being very protective of Tim. “Just don’t die,” Dick tells him, which is kind of an ominous encouragement. Was Dick always so morbid? Oh, and, hey, wasn’t there a Robin in between Dick and Tim?
Margaret: On the bioship, Lagoon Boy complains about the fact that they caught the mission that will almost certainly see no action…which generally means they are in over their heads. Blue Beetle seems to be quite happy about the fact that they got the easy mission, though he starts arguing with seemingly no one. Is Blue Beetle the Deadpool of Young Justice?
Syd: They’re building intrigue through an obnoxious character choice. It’s nice, though, that the way they are introducing ideas about these characters is very matter-of-fact and not overexplained. Like, I love the way Lagoon Boy just inflates, because of course he was inflatable the whole time.
Margaret: Once inside, there are a ton of Kroloteans – this is obviously a hub of activity. And looking at a large amount of these creatures, they look a lot like the Genomorphs from Cadmus. Is there a reason for that? Or were they just lazy on alien character design?
Syd: That hadn’t even occurred to me. But also, we don’t know where Cadmus had gotten the genetic material for the Genomorphs, so maybe there’s something to that.
Anyway, when the Kroloteans notice Gamma Squad and a big action sequence breaks out, Lagoon Boy tells the others, “Stay liquid, minnows.” Being from Atlantis, he uses water slang, the way we use land slang like, “Don’t have a cow, man.”
Margaret: For some reason the Kroloteans are way more scared of Blue Beetle than a large inflatable fish and start to escape through the Zetas. The leader’s announcement is apparently understood by Blue Beetle, but neither he nor anyone else knows why he knows this alien language.
Syd: It’s a good thing that someone speaks their language, because the Kroloteans are about to blow up their base, and if Blue Beetle didn’t understand what they were saying, Gamma Squad wouldn’t know that the Kroloteans were keeping human captives that they intended to abandon in their exploding base.
Margaret: Tim recounts the fact that he isn’t supposed to take any unnecessary risks to the team, but saving prisoners is an essential risk. It’s good that Tim came to that conclusion, but he also wasted about twenty seconds off of a literal ticking clock scenario to come to the obvious heroic choice.
Syd: When the Team shows up to rescue the humans, they are at first delighted to see Robin, then horrified that he is accompanied by what appear to be three aliens. It’s remarkable how Lagoon Boy takes this in stride, while Blue Beetle is taken aback. Blue Beetle is used to looking “normal,” while even on Atlantis, La’gaan is considered unusual. It’s a small character touch, but it’s nice and it feels very natural.
Margaret: In the nick of time, the captives and the Gamma Team escape the self destruction of the base, each of them coming up for air only to see the Justice League and the rest of the Team descending upon them. It’s a nice little bowtie to the end of the first season episode ending where the exact same thing happened and the Team was in trouble.
Instead, everyone arrives and the camera focuses on Dick, who looks very stern. For a moment I really thought he was going to Batman this moment up. However, he grins and tells him “You got your feet wet.” It’s a really nice moment to show that Dick now trusts in Tim as a leader.
Syd: Moreover, that Dick, in deciding that he doesn’t want to be The Batman has grown into a much better leader. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Megan, Conner, and Garfield arriving on Rann.
Margaret: Right, yes, great. But no seriously, where are Kaldur, Wally and Artemis???
GRADING THE EPISODE
Margaret: I honestly have no idea how to grade this episode. Pluses: Tim! I love Tim, I always have. Minuses: MEGAN AND LAGOON BOY?!?! So. B? Seriously, though, it was a very interesting and intriguing season opener. I definitely want to know more and it seems to already be laying some great plot for later down the road.
Syd: I’m giving it a B+. I want to bump it up to an A because of how entertaining your reactions were, but that’s not an actual part of the episode. I like how it lets you know the new status quo and gives the new team members things to do to let you know who they are and which one is going to get on your nerves in the coming episodes.
Margaret: I am seriously at a loss. Without Wally, who is actually the worst?!